PK Underground UK recently reported that insurance companies have indicated that there has been an increase in claims from inheritors of estates who have not been found when research for potential heirs have been conducted. Professional indemnity insurance is now almost essential to cover the inadvertent overlooking of potential heirs to estates.
Probate professionals who have had the unwanted experience of a claim being made on a deceased estate from a seemingly valid person will know exactly how much of an issue this can really be, especially if the claim occurs after the contents of the will has been distributed. If no indemnity insurance policy was current before the distribution process the result could be mind boggling.
It appears that in at least fifty percent of cases that are referred to them with unfinished research have a lot of flaws in them which are extremely expensive to fix.
Some of the reasons stated for this arise from births to couples who never got married and those who come from solo parent families which, from an heir seekers viewpoint, are nearly impossible to find. The customary techniques of defining a family tree which depended on the age old institution of marriage which included children cannot be relied on today.
The internet as a research resource, which is commonly utilised by heir searchers when putting together family tree information, is quite obviously not accurate and omits important details so that a potential heir could be deleted.
Family movements are also greater as time passes so, if the heir searcher does not have a good international network, more errors can also be made quite easily.
It has been highlighted by a major insurance company that they no longer issue professional indemnity insurance policies to some heir searchers as too many claims have been generated.
A high level of activity is required in heir research as it is very important to be able to uncover all the necessary information about the family concerned. It is not really that surprising that small things are overlooked, particularly when a small heir searching business or even a one person business is undertaking the search.